If You Love Sex and the City, You’ll Want to See Book Club ASAP
Four woman, sitting around, discussing their sex lives and relationships over drinks. Sound familiar?
Of course it does. That’s the premise of one of the most beloved TV series of all time, Sex and the City. But it’s also the plot of Book Club, which hits theaters today and is guaranteed to fill the Carrie Bradshaw-and-company-shaped hole in your heart, at least for two hours. One difference you'll realize outright: SATC followed a group of thirty-something women as they navigated New York City’s dating scene, whereas Book Club looks at the love lives of Los Angeles-based women in their sixties. Other than the characters’ ages and locations, though, the projects are strikingly similar at their core.
For starters, it’s easy to slot each of Book Club’s leading ladies—Diane (Diane Keaton), Vivian (Jane Fonda), Sharon (Candice Bergen), and Carol (Mary Steenburgen)—into one of Sex and the City’s now-iconic personality types. Only a few minutes in, you can identify the Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte of the group (more on who’s who, below). Then there’s the sex factor. While reading Fifty Shades of Grey in their four-decades-strong book club, the characters find themselves inspired to spice up their own love lives. It prompts candid—and downright hilarious—discussions about what it’s really like for the 60-plus set to find a new partner in the age of dating apps. Swap out their bottle of wine with four cosmopolitans and you’ve got yourself a SATC flash-forward.
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Finally, did we mention that there’s actually an onscreen Sex and the City reunion in Book Club? Candice Bergen—who unforgettably starred as Carrie Bradshaw’s Vogue editor, Enid—once again finds herself opposite actor Wallace Shawn onscreen. (You might best remember Shawn for portraying the “hobbit” Carrie tried to fix up with Enid in the show’s final season, much to her horror.) While things ultimately seemed to work out for the pair on TV, their Bumble date doesn’t go quite as well in the movie. Read on for a side-by-side comparison of the characters and more reasons to go see Book Club in this post-SATC world.
Diane is Carrie Bradshaw
After 40 years of marriage, Diane (also her onscreen name) is widowed. By default, her daughters assume she's knocking on death's door, too, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Diane is ready to embark on a new chapter of her life—one that Carrie Bradshaw could have authored. A free-spirited romantic who's always ready to be swept off her feet, Diane is the member of the friend group who gets whisked away on adventures, lives in a constant state of being quirky-cute (yet slightly awkward), and knows her sense of style down pat. She's looking for that “Big Love” that Carrie sought, and when she finds something close with Mitchell (played by Andy Garcia), he’s pretty much Mr. Big 2.0: attractive, successful, wealthy, and perpetually single.
Vivian is Samantha Jones
It’s rare to come across a well-developed character who’s as comfortable talking about sex as Samantha Jones—but Vivian is it. She’s never settled down, and while she's all about getting steamy with strangers, she refuses to actually sleep with any man she’s seeing (as in, cuddle up and fall into REM). No surprise, she's the catalyst who sets the film’s sexcapades in motion by forcing her friends to read Fifty Shades of Grey for book club. Libido aside, Vivian is self-aware about how aging has affected her appearance, and much like Samantha, she’s not ashamed to admit that she’s had a bit of work done (never forget Samantha's chemical peel on the night of Carrie's book release party). The real binding force between the two characters, though? It's that they’re both highly successful, self-made career women. Vivian owns and runs a luxury resort hotel, and her drive and independence are reminiscent of powerhouse publicist Samantha Jones.
Sharon is Miranda Hobbs
Sharon is the cynical, no-nonsense friend in this group. Not so shocking, given the fact that she’s a federal judge—a job that we could totally see Miranda Hobbs taking on, should she ever tire of being a lawyer. While serious Sharon may be highly critical of others and has an undeniably tough shell, she has a great sense of humor and really does value finding happiness, underneath. Her awkwardness on dates gets in the way of that at first (calling to mind a pre-Steve-era Miranda), but in the end, her personality shines through. Plus, she’s responsible for some of the most laugh-worthy moments in the film as she re-enters the dating pool for the first time in 18 years.
Carol is Charlotte York
We all have that wholesome friend whose life looks perfect from the outside. On Sex and the City, that was Charlotte York, and in Book Club, it’s Carol. To the world, both women seem to be in problem-free relationships. Remember when Charlotte finally revealed the truth about her sexless marriage to Trey? Learning that Carol and her husband of 35 years haven’t been intimate in six months (cuing an appropriately horrified reaction from Vivian, the film’s very own Samantha Jones) feels similar. In addition to trying to reignite the spark in her relationship (total Charlotte move), Carol is the most impressionable member of the group. She immediately wants to try the latest thing she’s read or heard about. Here, it’s handcuffs and red rooms, whereas on SATC, it was Chinese medicine and trendy vibrators.